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Old 08-20-2009, 10:13 PM   #1
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Water damage to ceiling sheetrock


I suffered a water leak from a clogged A/C drain line (upstairs), which resulted in stains on the ceiling downstairs. I have no idea how much water leaked, but we caught it quickly and the ceiling stains are relatively small (4 to 7 inch diameter) and confined to one area in the living room.

There is no bowing, or deformation, of the ceiling at all. I'm "pretty sure" that there is no insulation between the upstairs floor and the downstairs ceiling. The A/C drain line has been fixed, so now I'm wondering if I need to replace the sheetrock or will a good coat of paint be sufficient? Also wondering (worried) about mold if I don't replace the sheetrock.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

(I'm new to the DIY Forum, so I hope I'm posting this in the right place....)

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Old 08-21-2009, 02:31 AM   #2
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Water damage to ceiling sheetrock


I believe that you first need to determine if the sheetrock is compromised or just stained. IF the sheetrock is still wet and you can push indentations into it with your finger, then it will probably need to be patched. IF the sheetrock is dry, has not bowed, shrunk, or appears not to be damaged other than stained then you may get by with painting. Depending on the color of the ceiling, I have used Kilz primer in the spray can to cover those type stains. I use a light coat first, letting it dry well, then go back over it with another light coat until the stained area is almost gone. Trying to match even "Ceiling White" is difficult, to say the least once a ceiling has aged some. Colors are even more difficult, at least to me. IF the sheetrock is damaged and needs to be repaired, you need only to cut out the damaged area, and maybe a little more, then proceed with normal patching techniques as on a wall. Good Luck, David

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Old 08-21-2009, 08:34 AM   #3
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Water damage to ceiling sheetrock


Thanks David for the detailed reply. I double-checked the ceiling this morning, and the sheetrock is still firm and dry to the touch. I cannot make indentations with my finger and knocking on it with my knuckles makes a "solid" sound.

The ceiling is white, but with a complex texture pattern. The house is 15 years old, so I'm prepared to paint the entire ceiling -- but it would be "nice" to avoid the difficulty of matching the texture, if possible. But I'm very nervous about the possibility of mold.
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:49 PM   #4
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Water damage to ceiling sheetrock


Quick inexpensive trick to remove rust stains from ceiling. Spray with a 50% bleach to water solution. Let sit a bit. Blot dry with paper towels. Try a few times letting the solution sit longer.

Otherwise for a repaint, use Kil-Z to prime the spotted areas as someone reccomended.
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Old 08-21-2009, 03:48 PM   #5
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Water damage to ceiling sheetrock


Go, how did you discover the leak? Did you see it upstairs at the source, or did you see it when it started to cause stains? If it's when the stains appeared, get yourself a Drill, long drill bit(1/4-1/2" diameter) and a plastic cup. Put the bit through the bottom of the cup, so the cup is resting on the end of the drill, then proceed and drill a hole through the sheet rock at the stain. After you drill the hole, you will be able to tell if theres an excess amount of water and how much needs to be removed if anything. If theres no water damage, you can just go over the hole with spackle just like it was an ordinary nail hole.

I once had a drop ceiling and there was water stain in the tile. When taking the tile out to change it, got hit with what felt like a shower. The cup around the bit will protect the drill from getting soaked if there is a puddle of water just sitting up there.

If this is second floor, and you have attic access, check through there so u can see mold issues.
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Old 08-21-2009, 07:01 PM   #6
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Water damage to ceiling sheetrock


Thanks Green Giant -- great idea with the cup over the drill bit!

My wife discovered the leak when she spotted the stains and "heard" a very faint dripping sound in the ceiling -- unfortunately, we did not catch it at the source. She called me at work, and I had her shut down the A/C system immediately. The A/C drain line has been repaired (unclogged), and all systems seem to operating/draining normally now.

Sorry for the lousy pictures, but "approximately where" would you suggest I drill?

A DIY buddy of mine also suggested Kilz primer + paint, but I'd feel better if I could at least "check" the space between the first floor ceiling and the upstairs flooring. (Am I being too paranoid?)

Thanks again to all for the expert advice!
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Old 08-21-2009, 07:13 PM   #7
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Water damage to ceiling sheetrock


Don't go drilling no holes in your ceiling for God's sake. If that ceiling was holding water you would know it by now because the ceiling would be on the floor. There is no harm done there. Use any pigmented shellac to cover the stain then paint the entire ceiling. Why would you think you would have to do anything to/with the texture? I'm not seeing anything wrong with the texture. There is no real harm there, clean it up and forget it until it happens again.

Now, what makes you think there is mold?
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:24 PM   #8
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Water damage to ceiling sheetrock


Thanks for the advice Bud. My comment about the texture was intended to mean that I'd certainly prefer NOT to rip out any sheetrock, and then struggle with matching the texture afterwards - sorry for the confusion. From what I've read, it takes a longer, sustained, presence of water to harbor the growth of mold, so I think I'm leaning toward a solution as you described - Kilz primer, paint, and see if that does the trick. Best regards to all!
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Old 08-29-2009, 09:25 AM   #9
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Water damage to ceiling sheetrock


If you have attic access, pull the insulation back and look for and signs of mold and treat from above if necessary. As stated by others, the KILZ or shellac on the spots and a repaint will take care of the stained areas....

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